As we ease back into our travel schedules again, our spines won’t be used to this kind of all-day sitting and stiffness. As many of us have gotten used to the freedoms afforded by working from home, we’ve learned how to incorporate movement into our daily routines to stretch our spines and keep them happy. Because of this, our long travel days may take more of a toll on our spines than we expect.
If you’re gearing up for a trip soon, here are five spine stretches you can incorporate while at the airport, at road trip pitstops, or even from the comfort of your plane or car seat that will show your spine some love and keep your body feeling good even after a long travel day.
A hamstring stretch does more than just loosen up the backs of your legs. It is also a great stretch for your spine and offers some much-needed lower back relief. To do this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend down and try to touch your toes, keeping only a slight bend in your knees to feel a stretch through the backs of your thighs and up through the back.
If your lower back needs some more love, stay in that position, but grab the backs of your knees and gently pull your upper body toward your knees as much as you can. You’ll feel a pull in the lower back, relieving any tension that’s built up there.
While these are not necessarily stretches, they are a great way to wake up the muscles of your body that have been dormant from long travel intervals. This simply involves contracting and releasing a muscle or group of muscles to stimulate blood flow and keep your muscles active.
For example, you can activate your core and legs by holding a wall squat with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your back flat up against any wall. This is a great choice at an airport terminal or rest stop.
Single Knee Hugs
Gently hugging one knee to your chest at a time and holding for a few seconds before releasing can relieve pressure from the lower back that can build up due to poor posture or inadequate lumbar support. Do a few reps and then repeat on the other side.
What’s great about this stretch is that you can do it while sitting or standing as long as you’re not driving a car.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with a basic spinal rotation. If you’re feeling rigid after cramming into small airplane seats or reclining in a car seat for too long, this spine stretch can shake things out and bring back some mobility to your stagnant spine.
Simply face forward with a straight back, keeping your core engaged and facing front as you rotate your shoulders and chest to one side, holding on to something like a door handle or applying slight pressure to the plane wall to feel a deeper stretch. Repeat on the other side as needed.
Healthy Travels All-Around
With travel restrictions lifting and vacation spots opening back up, it’s exciting to get back to the travels we know and love. Keep these five spine stretches in your back pocket for when you’re feeling tight and tense and you’ll feel great by the time you arrive at your final destination. Plus, for an extra boost, consider these immune system-boosting tips to keep you healthy while you travel.
If you’re dealing with persistent back pain after travel or from an injury, don’t ignore it or let it get worse. Contact a trusted chiropractor in St. Petersburg, FL, as soon as possible to schedule an appointment so we can get to the root of your pain.